Peas and Cheese

What do you do with the first of the seasons fresh peas?

We have been harvesting a few things from the garden; baby beets, turnips, carrots, even a few cucumbers, but for us peas are just coming on. It is the second week of July, and the thermometer is reading 98F. The first picking was on Tuesday, enough for dinner and a bag blanched for the freezer.

My Mom used to make creamed new potatoes and peas. They seemed so fresh, tasting of the earth and sun. We wanted something a little lighter, a creamy hot-dish sounded too heavy, so we settled on one of our old favorites “Matter Paneer” (Peas and Cheese)

There were a couple tubs of firm ricotta in the walk-in, so we used that for the paneer.
The ricotta was made with apple cider vinegar and paneer is traditionally made with lemon juice. I believe the firm whole goats milk ricotta works fine in this recipe. Continue reading “Peas and Cheese”

Strawberry Preserves

A first for our farm is a strawberry patch large enough to fill our desire for fresh fruit plus give us berries for processing. A few have been frozen whole for later use, we have had some as the lead role in spring desserts, and combined another harvest with rhubarb for jam, but now there is enough to make a batch of purely strawberry preserves.

I have been pondering flavors to add; you know that surprise addition that will tease the tongue. Champagne, sage flowers, spearmint, elderberry flowers, or vanilla, are all ideas that have come to mind. But none of them sound as intriguing as leaving them single. Simply strawberry coming at the tongue, straightforward, the full flavor of ripe June fruit, a little sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and nothing more. That is how I am going to play it this time. Continue reading “Strawberry Preserves”

Cranky

Hey what is it with that chicken?

We have a pen full of Red Broiler chickens, bred for meat production, they don’t grow as quickly or have the health problems of Cornish Cross, but they do get larger faster then some of the other breeds, say a chicken hatched here on the farm, by a duck.

You may recall the earlier posting of the duck that surprised us by sitting on a nest of chicken eggs. Rick had taken all the duck eggs out of the nest, but the ducks accomplice, Henny Penny, replaced them with chicken eggs. A few weeks later we figured it out when we saw a little chick under the duck.

At the time we thought there might be a slow hatch out of chicks, but that wasn’t the way it turned out. Eventually all the eggs disappeared and no more chicks appeared. Still there was that one little orphan chick, alone under a light in a brooder box, unhappy, complaining, chirping a sad song, hence the name “Cranky”.

Our idea was to give Cranky some friends, three of the red broilers (all named Rudy). Cranky settled down, no more complaining.

Eventually Cranky and the three “Rudies” were all reunited with the other 23 chicks. Continue reading “Cranky”

Spring

Okay, it still seems more winter like then spring, especially in the garden. That is why we preserve our parsnips right in the ground where they were growing last summer. Then in March or April, when we are craving something other then cabbage and winter squash there are these sweet yet musky treats. I like them cut like french fries, lightly oiled and salted and roasted in the oven letting some of the juicy sugars caramelize. My web guru told me about trying sublime vanilla parsnips, they sound delicious, pan fried with plenty of butter and finished with vanilla infused rum.

Does anyone have a favorite way to prepare parsnips? Continue reading “Spring”